COVID-19 has been having a significant impact on many areas of life. The real estate market is one of these areas. Stay-at-home orders have prevented agents from providing tours of homes. People are unlikely to purchase a home they have not seen in person, which means the lack of private showings has caused a decrease in sales. Another factor in decreased real estate purchases may be financial reasons. COVID-19 has caused brick-and-mortar stores across the country to shut down, resulting in about 36.5 million Americans losing their jobs.
New York City, which had seen success in its real estate market in the first quarter of 2020, had soon faltered under the weight of the coronavirus. It appears as though the virus will hurt housing markets throughout the rest of the country as well. The downturn in real estate has been especially brutal for New York City, though, which had already been rebounding from incidents such as the September 11th terrorist attacks and the fall of the Lehman Brothers in 2008.
While real estate agents have tried to work around the virus with video calls and other forms of technology, it is not enough. Other factors have impacted the market as well, such as higher transfer taxes for luxury apartments, tenant-friendly rent laws going into effect, possible taxes on pieds-à-terre, and the rising anxiety over a recession. All of these issues created the perfect storm for a failing real estate market.
Donna Olshan, the president of Olshan Realty, remarked that “anything left on the market now, the price is just a suggestion.” Sellers, desperate to sell, have been lowering their selling price. Buyers have been pushing for cheaper real estate as well.
The future of the real estate market in New York City is unknown. Since there is difficulty knowing when COVID-19 itself will stop being a problem, it is hard to predict when the market can recover. The only certain thing, according to Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants, is that the impact on real estate is going to be catastrophic. However, there is still a chance the market will recover.